Italian coast guard recovers 14 more bodies of shipwreck victims off Calabria, dozens still missing

The latest deaths bring to more than 800 people who have died or went missing and are presumed dead crossing the central Mediterranean so far this year, an average of five dead a day, the UN agencies said.(AP)
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Updated 22 June 2024
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Italian coast guard recovers 14 more bodies of shipwreck victims off Calabria, dozens still missing

  • Humanitarian groups have decried the deaths as evidence of the failure of European migration policy

ROME: The Italian coast guard has recovered 14 more bodies from last week’s shipwreck in the Ionian Sea off the southern Italian coastline, bringing to 34 the number of known victims from the sinking. Dozens are still missing and presumed dead.
The bodies, recovered on Friday, were transferred to a port in Calabria. Three coast guard ships were active in the air-and-sea search, some 190 kilometers (120 miles) from shore.
Survivors reported that the motorboat had caught fire, causing it to capsize off the Italian coast overnight last Sunday, about eight days after departing from Turkiye with about 75 people from Iran, Syria and Iraq on board, according to the UN refugee agency and other UN organizations. Eleven survivors were being treated on shore.
The latest deaths bring to more than 800 people who have died or went missing and are presumed dead crossing the central Mediterranean so far this year, an average of five dead a day, the UN agencies said.
Humanitarian groups have decried the deaths as evidence of the failure of European migration policy.


Trump to hold first campaign rally after assassination attempt

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Trump to hold first campaign rally after assassination attempt

GRAND RAPIDS:Donald Trump will hold his first campaign rally on Saturday since he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt one week ago and fresh from his nominating convention where his takeover of the Republican Party was cemented.
Trump will appear in Grand Rapids, in the battleground state of Michigan, along with his new vice presidential pick, Ohio US Senator J.D. Vance. It will be their first campaign event together as the now official Republican presidential ticket.
Republican Party officials said during Trump’s nominating convention in Milwaukee this week that his brush with death last Saturday had changed him, and that when he made his acceptance speech on Thursday night he would call for national unity.
While Trump began the address with a call for unity and national healing, much of his speech was his well-known list of grievances and attacks on opponents.
It is unclear what type of a speech Trump will deliver on Saturday, but his diehard supporters typically flock to such events to hear Trump’s more traditional inflammatory rhetoric.
Trump and Vance will take the stage in Grand Rapids with the Republican Party unified behind them after this week’s nominating convention. In contrast, the Democrats are in turmoil and it is no longer certain that President Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee facing Trump in the Nov. 5 election.
Biden is facing mounting calls from many elected officials in his own party to step aside as the party’s White House candidate and to end his re-election bid, after his poor debate performance against Trump last month.
Biden is trailing in opinion polls and is behind in every swing state against Trump. Many Democrats fear he may have virtually no path to victory and that the party needs a new presidential candidate to take on Trump.
The rally in Grand Rapids will be in an indoor arena, unlike the event in Butler, Pennsylvania last weekend, which was outdoors. At that event, the gunman was able to scale the roof of a building outside the Secret Service perimeter before opening fire on Trump, clipping his ear, killing a rally-goer and wounding several others.
The US Secret Service, which is responsible for protecting Trump, declined to comment on security for the Grand Rapids event. An investigation is under way into the security failures at the Butler rally.
“The Secret Service does not discuss the means and methods used for our protective operations,” the agency said in a statement.
Trump gave a detailed account of his narrow brush with death in his convention speech on Thursday, telling the audience that he was only talking to them “by the grace of Almighty God.”


Senegal detains boat carrying 200 migrants

Updated 20 July 2024
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Senegal detains boat carrying 200 migrants

DAKAR: Senegal’s army said Saturday that it had intercepted a boat carrying over 200 migrants trying to reach Europe, after nearly 90 died when attempting the dangerous Atlantic crossing earlier this month.
The boat intercepted by the patrol boat in fishing waters near Lompoul in northwest Senegal on Friday was carrying 202 people, including five women and a minor, the army posted on X.
In early July, a boat carrying around 170 people who set off from Senegal capsized off the coast of Mauritania, killing nearly 90 people.
The disaster prompted Senegal’s President Ousmane Sonko to urge people not to risk the Atlantic Ocean’s currents in overcrowded vessels that often are not seaworthy.
But the route is increasingly used as authorities step up surveillance in the Mediterranean.
“I once again make a plea to the young: your solution is not to be found in boats,” Sonko told a crowd of youths in Saint-Louis.
“The future of the world is in Africa... the only continent that still has the significant scope for progress and growth.”
According to the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras, more than 5,000 people died trying to reach Spain by sea in the first five months of this year, representing the highest daily average toll since it began keeping records in 2007.


Two killed in overnight strikes on Ukraine

Updated 20 July 2024
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Two killed in overnight strikes on Ukraine

KYIV: At least two people were killed and four wounded in a Russian airstrike overnight on Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, the regional prosecutor said Saturday.
“Around 3:15 in the morning the enemy launched a missile attack on the town of Barvinkove, in Izium district,” the prosecutor said in a statement.
It listed the dead as two men aged 48 and 69 and said around 50 buildings were damaged in the strike, apparently by three Russian Iskander missiles.
Another strike hit an agricultural business in the village of Oleksiivka, it said, though there were no reported casualties.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been urging his nation’s allies to step up air defense support to be able to intercept Russian missiles and drones raining down daily on the country over nearly 30 months of conflict.
The death toll in a Russian strike Friday on a playground in the southern city of Mykolaiv rose to four, including one child, with 24 injured, its mayor Oleksander Senkevitch posted on Telegram.


China bridge collapse kills 11, leaves more than 30 missing

Updated 20 July 2024
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China bridge collapse kills 11, leaves more than 30 missing

BEIJING: A bridge collapse caused by torrential rains in northern China killed 11 people and left more than 30 missing, state media said Saturday.
Large parts of northern and central China have been battered in recent days by rains that have caused flooding and significant damage.
The bridge in the northwestern Shaanxi province buckled “due to a sudden downpour and flash floods” around 8:40 p.m. on Friday (1240 GMT), according to state news agency Xinhua.
All 11 victims in the city of Shangluo were found inside five vehicles that were recovered from the river below the bridge, state broadcaster CCTV said.
More than 30 people remained missing after the highway bridge collapsed into the water, the broadcaster said.
Images on state television showed a partially submerged section of the bridge with the river rushing over it.
One witness told local media that he had approached the bridge but that other drivers started “yelling at me to brake and stop the car.”
“A truck in front of me didn’t stop” and fell into the water, the witness, surnamed Meng, said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged “all-out rescue and relief efforts” to find those still missing, Xinhua said.
In the southwestern province of Sichuan, more than 30 people were reported missing on Saturday after a violent thunderstorm caused flash flooding in the town of Ya’an, according to CCTV.
On Friday, state media reported at least five people dead and eight missing after the rains sparked flooding and mudslides in Shaanxi’s Baoji city.
State television broadcast images of neighborhoods completely flooded by muddy water, with excavators and residents attempting to clear the damage.
The semi-desert province of Gansu, which neighbors Shaanxi, and Henan in central China were also hit by heavy rains this week.
In Henan’s Nanyang city, the equivalent of a year’s worth of rain fell at the start of the week, CCTV said.
And in Sichuan province, two people were reported killed and seven others missing Friday after heavy rain triggered landslides, Xinhua said.
China is enduring a summer of extreme weather, with heavy rains across the east and south coming as much of the north has sweltered in successive heatwaves.
Climate change, which scientists say is exacerbated by greenhouse gas emissions, is making these types of extreme weather phenomena more frequent and more intense.
In May, a highway in southern China collapsed after days of rain, leaving 48 dead.
This month, a tornado passed through a town in eastern China killing one, injuring 79 and causing significant damage.


Airlines resume services after global IT crash wreaks havoc

Updated 20 July 2024
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Airlines resume services after global IT crash wreaks havoc

  • King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh posted a video of smooth airport operations shortly after the IT outage was fixed
  • Dubai Airports said operations were back to normal after the outage affected the check-in process for some airlines

PARIS: Airlines were gradually coming back online Saturday after global carriers, banks and financial institutions were thrown into turmoil by one of the biggest IT crashes in recent years, caused by an update to an antivirus program.
King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh posted a video of smooth airport operations shortly after the IT outage was fixed.

 


Dubai Airports said in a statement that operations were back to normal after the outage affected the check-in process for some airlines in Terminals 1 and 2.
“The affected airlines promptly switched to an alternate system, allowing normal check-in operations to resume swiftly,” the statement read.

 


Similarly, Kuwait International Airport reported resumption of flight operations and the technical systems of all airlines. “The swift response and activation of the emergency plan, approved by the civial aviation, helped mitigate the negative impact of this outage,” said the statement.
Passenger crowds had swelled at airports on Friday to wait for news as dozens of flights were canceled and operators struggled to keep services on track, after an update to a program operating on Microsoft Windows crashed systems worldwide.
Multiple US airlines and airports across Asia said they were now resuming operations, with check-in services restored in Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand, and mostly back to normal in India, Indonesia and at Singapore’s Changi Airport as of Saturday afternoon.
“The check-in systems have come back to normal (at Thailand’s five major airports). There are no long queues at the airports as we experienced yesterday,” Airports of Thailand president Keerati Kitmanawat told reporters at Don Mueang airport in Bangkok.
Microsoft said the issue began at 1900 GMT on Thursday, affecting Windows users running the CrowdStrike Falcon cybersecurity software.
CrowdStrike said it had rolled out a fix for the problem and the company’s boss, George Kurtz, told US news channel CNBC he wanted to “personally apologize to every organization, every group and every person who has been impacted.”
It also said it could take a few days to return to normal.
US President Joe Biden’s team was talking to CrowdStrike and those affected by the glitch “and is standing by to provide assistance as needed,” the White House said in a statement.
“Our understanding is that flight operations have resumed across the country, although some congestion remains,” a senior US administration official said.
Reports from the Netherlands and Britain suggested health services might have been affected by the disruption, meaning the full impact might not yet be known.
Media companies were also hit, with Britain’s Sky News saying the glitch had ended its Friday morning news broadcasts, and Australia’s ABC similarly reporting major difficulties.
By Saturday, services in Australia had mostly returned to normal, but Sydney Airport was still reporting flight delays.
Australian authorities warned of an increase in scam and phishing attempts following the outage, including people offering to help reboot computers and asking for personal information or credit card details.
Banks in Kenya and Ukraine reported issues with their digital services, while some mobile phone carriers were disrupted and customer services in a number of companies went down.
“The scale of this outage is unprecedented, and will no doubt go down in history,” said Junade Ali of Britain’s Institution of Engineering and Technology, adding that the last incident approaching the same scale was in 2017.
Manual check-ins
While some airports halted all flights, in others airline staff resorted to manual check-ins for passengers, leading to long lines and frustrated travelers.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initially ordered all flights grounded “regardless of destination,” though airlines later said they were re-establishing their services and working through the backlog.
India’s largest airline Indigo said operations had been “resolved,” in a statement posted on X.
“While the outage has been resolved and our systems are back online, we are diligently working to resume normal operations, and we expect this process to extend into the weekend,” the carrier said Saturday.
A passenger told AFP that the situation was returning to normal at Delhi Airport by midnight on Saturday with only slight delays in international flights.
Low-cost carrier AirAsia said it was still trying to get back online, and had been “working around the clock toward recovering its departure control systems (DCS)” after the global outage. It recommended passengers arrive early at airports and be ready for “manual check-in” at airline counters.
Chinese state media said Beijing’s airports had not been affected.
In Europe, major airports including Berlin, which had suspended all flights earlier on Friday, said departures and arrivals were resuming.
Companies experience disruptions
Companies were left patching up their systems and trying to assess the damage, even as officials tried to tamp down panic by ruling out foul play.
CrowdStrike’s Kurtz said in a statement his teams were “fully mobilized” to help affected customers and “a fix has been deployed.”
But Oli Buckley, a professor at Britain’s Loughborough University, was one of many experts who questioned the ease of rolling out a proper fix.
“While experienced users can implement the workaround, expecting millions to do so is impractical,” he said.
Other experts said the incident should prompt a widespread reconsideration of how reliant societies are on a handful of tech companies for such an array of services.
“We need to be aware that such software can be a common cause of failure for multiple systems at the same time,” said John McDermid, a professor at York University in Britain.
He said infrastructure should be designed “to be resilient against such common cause problems.”

With AFP